Birmingham resident Carol Aubrey thought she couldn’t hear her new parish priest because he, unlike her previous pastor, chose to stand nearer to the congregation and didn’t use a microphone for his sermons.
“And then, when with my ladies’ club friends,” Aubrey says, “I couldn’t hear across the table or two seats down from me, and I knew something was wrong.”
“I saw an article in the local paper about Hinderliter Hearing Services and thought, ‘It’s right here, near me!’ So, I made an appointment for a hearing evaluation. Dr. Kristin Hinderliter was kind, thorough, and very smart. She and her staff are unbelievably efficient.”
“I went home with hearing aids for a two-week trial period and, after routine adjustments, have hearing aids that are great,” Aubrey says. “Dr. Kristin even made it possible for me to adjust them by using my cell phone! I’m so glad I went there to have my hearing evaluated. I’ve told my friends, ‘Just go! Have your hearing tested!’ You need to find out if you have a hearing loss!”
Hinderliter, owner of Hinderliter Hearing Services, agrees.
“It’s important for people to have a baseline audiological evaluation,” she says. “The sooner hearing loss is detected, the easier it is to take care of it.”
She adds, “If you’re asking people to repeat or you’re hearing mumbling, or have ringing in your ears, you might not realize you have a hearing loss. Hearing loss is something that nobody sees; it can be gradual. And it affects so many areas of life!”
It is now known that hearing loss can contribute to brain atrophy and dementia, as well as increased risk of falling, depression, decreased earning potential, and the breakdown – and even loss – of relationships, including marriage.
It’s a condition that affects over 48 million Americans.
Though most hearing loss is age-related (with adults aged 60-69 reporting the greatest amount), it can affect anyone at any age.
“When I was two,” says Hinderliter, “my mom took me to the doctor because I had a cold – and I was then diagnosed with hearing loss. It certainly explained why I often didn’t respond to Mom’s calls of ‘Kristin! Kristin!’”
The diagnosis also influenced Hinderliter’s decision to pursue audiology as her vocation. She became a Doctor of Audiology and began working in a Detroit non-profit for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, followed by co-owning a private audiology practice. A year ago, she opened Hinderliter Hearing Services in Birmingham, where she has become known for her compassionate service and expertise.
“For the first time,” Hinderliter says, “hearing aids are really good! They are comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, and they can be programmed and adjusted very easily.”
And, because of her own hearing loss, Hinderliter understands the frustration of her patients.
“I have an awesome staff,” says Hinderliter. “We all work together to make it a pleasant and comfortable experience.”
The doctor always recommends that a third party come to the appointment.
“It helps the patient,” she says, “to have a loved one there to understand and share information and to be able to hear a familiar voice when trying a hearing aid.”
Hinderliter is also able, upon certain diagnosis of hearing loss, to provide – free of charge – a Cap Tel phone system, which displays written captions of land line phone calls.
“There are many devices and options available to assist with hearing loss in addition to hearing aids,” Hinderliter says.
“It is so rewarding,” says Hinderliter, “to help a patient be able to hear conversations, the phone, the television, music. Though an aid doesn’t make things perfect, it provides a chance to improve hearing and prevent more loss, to avoid the related issue of loneliness, isolation, and withdrawal – and to help keep people connected to people.”